Philadelphia IBEW Associate Sentenced for Fraud

The decline of the corrupt old guard at International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 continues. On January 27, James Moylan, a close ally of the powerful Philadelphia union, and for a while chairman of the City of Philadelphia’s zoning board, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to 15 months in prison and three years of supervised release for wire fraud and tax evasion. He also will have to pay $130,783 in combined restitution to the union and the IRS, plus a $10,000 fine and a $400 special assessment. Moylan had pleaded guilty in October. The actions follow an investigation by the FBI, the IRS, the U.S. Labor Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police and Attorney General’s Office.

Union Corruption Update has covered this case since January 2019, when a federal grand jury handed down a 116-count indictment against eight persons for a wide range of offenses including fraud, embezzlement and bribery. Six were current or former union officials or members, the most prominent of whom was IBEW Local 98 Business Manager John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, who allegedly embezzled union funds to enrich himself, family and friends. Two non-members also were charged. One was the now-convicted George Peltz, a New Jersey-based contractor. The other was James Moylan, an old friend of Dougherty and also Dougherty’s chiropractor. During most of 2016, Moylan chaired the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustments before being forced to step down in the wake of public corruption revelations. In January 2019, he was charged with 17 counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false federal income tax returns. Moylan pleaded guilty to all charges nine months later. The wire fraud was related to his misuse of union donations to a pair of Philadelphia-based organizations he founded, Neighborhoods for Fair Taxes and 298 Inc. The restitution order calls for Moylan to pay $52,898 to the union and $77,885 (not including penalties and interest) to the IRS.

Prosecutors believe Moylan’s punishment fits the crimes. “Moylan knew what his responsibilities were as a public official and as a taxpayer, and he ignored them for his own personal benefit,’ said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Williams. “In doing so, he cheated a non-profit organization meant to benefit the entire community, and he cheated all taxpayers by lying to the IRS.”